Tuesday, November 08, 2005


All this talk about Halloween has gotten me thinking about candy lately. In particular, the Halloweeen candy that I used to snarf en masse during in the 1970’s--a simpler, gentler time when children were neither clinically obese nor allergic to peanuts.

So...for lack of any better ideas at the moment, I’ve listed below my five favorite Halloween candies from the KC & the Sunshine Band era.

1. Mallo Cups: These were my favorite of favorites. They looked like Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, but contained a creamy, marshmallow and coconut filling. Then--as if to elevate this most perfect of candies to even greater heights--the cup’s top layer of chocolate was embedded with coconut flakes. Chocolate, coconut, and no peanut butter breath! What more could you ask for? The best thing about Mallo Cups, however, was that my friends hated them as passionately as I loved them. This meant that on each November 1, I’d enjoy a buyer’s market for Mallo Cups on the candy-trading floor.

2. Mounds: What could be better than a candy bar that’s 98% coconut?

3. Almond Joy: These should’ve been even better than Mounds, because they used milk (rather than dark) chocolate. But then some marketing knuckle-head decided to desecrate the coconut by slapping a whole almond on top of it. Fortunately, that pesky nut was easily bitten-off and spit-out.

4. Brach’s Sundaes--Neopolitan Coconut: You probably don’t recognize the name, but you’ve all tasted it. These are those pink, white and brown-striped coconut cubes that came individually-wrapped in cellophane. A pure hit of coconut, sugar and food coloring! Loved ‘em. LOVED ‘EM!

By the way...is anybody noticing a trend here?

5. And finally...Baby Ruth: OK, OK...let’s try to move beyond the “Caddyshack” stigma and judge this candy bar on its merits. I had an odd, illogical, disfunctional relationship with Baby Ruth candy bars. Every Halloween, I would find a few in my sack. I’d eat them and my reaction was always the same: “Goddamn! These are great!” But then, despite the fact that every US candy store and supermarket carried them, I’d go the entire year without buying or eating another. To this day, I can’t explain why. It makes no sense. I should’ve been eating a Baby Ruth with every meal. But just like the movie “Groundhog Day,” the circle repeated itself year after year after year.

And just for the hell of it, my least favorite Halloween candies were the following: Zagnut; Clark Bars; Dum-Dum lollipops; and...most hated of them all...CANDY CORN!

Honestly! Have you ever met anyone who liked Candy Corn?


At 3:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Once again, I find it amazing that we are brother and sister with all of our differences! My Halloween sleeping bag was probably your favorite to steal from because I loathe coconut. In fact, I don't think that there is a food that I hate more (and you know how long that list is)! I can pick the nasty taste and texture of coconut in anything it may occupy. But, I actually do like candy corn.

The one thing we do have in common is Baby Ruth! It is at the top of my list, although the candy makers have changed it a bit since the 1970s - not for the better I might add.

I was surprised not to see Charleston Chews on your list.

At 9:37 AM, Blogger Sal DeTraglia said...

Hmm. That's hard to imagine...someone not liking coconut. It's a good thing you weren't born in Sri Lanka.

Charleston Chews were fun, but not necessarily for the taste. I liked to freeze them and then whack them on the counter to break them into a thousand little pieces.

BTW...does anybody know the "Bubba, is that you?" joke? If you do, than my prior paragraph probably made you smirk.

Sorry...getting a little esoteric now.

Anyway, Snickers are my favorite candy to freeze. They're pretty good under normal conditions, but take on a whole new dimension when frozen. I've yet to find a candy bar that's as good from the freezer.

I'd better cut this off before it gets out of hand. Dieters may be reading this.


At 10:41 AM, Blogger christina said...

OK, I'll also have to admit to loving candy corn! There, I said it. I feel much better now.

My fondest Halloween candy memories, however, are of Oh Henrys, Eat-Mores, Pep-Chews and Coffee Crisps. And marshmallow ghosts, of course.

But coconut candy bars? Nope. Never. Eeew. Those were the ones my brothers and I always threw out.Geez, if we had known we could have sent them all to you! :-)

At 12:45 PM, Blogger Sal DeTraglia said...

Hmm...I remember Oh Henry. Not the taste, but the TV commercial. It featured Hank Aaron hitting his 715th home run. Since then, I've been unable to think about the real O.Henry without thinking about Hank.

And marshmallow ghosts are a universal thing...with those huge crystals of sugar that cracked when you bit into those disgusting hunks of fluff.

But the other candies (Eat-Mores, Pep-Chew and Coffe Crisps)...I've never heard of them. They must've been Canadian products.

Pep-Chews sound like something that would lead to revocation of an Olympic medal.

At 3:20 PM, Blogger ironporer said...

I must admit that Snickers, Mars Bars, Milky Ways, and Baby Ruths were also my favourites...and i also disdained those damn Dum Dum lollypops (cheapskates that gave them out usually got TP'd or had their windows soaped). Ditto for those darn rolled up things whose name escapes me...kinda like Sweet-Tarts, but not sour enough. Those were still in the bottom of the Halloween candy bowl the following spring. I never much cared for Zagnuts or Heath bars...as I usually had my teeth stuck together for 1/2 a day, then you have to pick the stuff out of your molars for a couple more hours. 35-40 years ago, there were still people who made homemade popcorn balls, of carmel apples which I always loved. They of course never got TP'd or soaped...another Halloween tradition that seems to have vanished. No more houliganisim...que lastima!!

At 4:24 PM, Blogger Sal DeTraglia said...

Iron Man:

Yeah, I know the candy you're talking about. It looked to a piece of pink chalk sliced into medallions, then wrappred in cellophane that was clear in the middle and red on the ends. In fact, that candy *tasted* like pink chalk. It really could've used some coconut.

Back in my hood, we didn't soap windows. We "corned" them. Step 1, take a cob of field (aka Indian) corn. Step 2, rub vigorously until the stone-like kernals fell off and accumulate them in a bag. Step 3, wait till dark and go from house to house throwing corn at people's windows. The best was finding a house with an aluminum awning; in which case, the corn would sound like a Cesna flying though a hailstorm.

You're right that kids probably don't engage in such stupidity today. If they did, they'd likely get sued...or shot.


At 5:25 PM, Anonymous lenox said...

Our US-based daughter sometimes sends us candy but, being an inglés, I'm not too certain about whether I like it much. Especially those 'Rees peanut butter cups', which are horrible! I used to like 'Tootsie-Rolls' and 'Hershey bars' which were brought off the US air-force base near where I lived as a child in Norfolk UK (along with Weird Tales and DC comics).
She also sent a bottle of Maple Syrup! Now ya talkin'!

At 8:35 PM, Blogger Angie said...

"You're right that kids probably don't engage in such stupidity today. If they did, they'd likely get sued...or shot."

My boyfriend did get a gun pulled on him when he and some hooligan friends were TP-ing back in middle school.

Being raised a good little Catholic girl, I have never gone TP-ing! However, a bunch of us (20-somethings) were sitting at the bar a couple weeks ago and we all started talking about how much fun it would be just to go TP someone, for old times' sake (and to end my TP virginity). One friend is a county cop, so we had the law on our side. Unfortunately, we were too lazy to get up and do it. But the idea's still up in the air. That will be one fun blog post if we ever get around to it...

At 10:27 PM, Blogger Sal DeTraglia said...

Hey Lenox:

I've always kinda liked Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, although the effect they have on your breath can be...a bit off-putting. I find it funny that 99% of US kids claim to be allergic to peanuts, yet still manage to inhale a pallet of Peanut Butter Cups during Halloween with no ill effects.

BTW...if you like Tootsie Rolls, try mixing orange juice with Kahlua and tell me what it smells like.


You're not alone. I've never TP'd either. My Halloween naughtiness was limited to corning (as described above), and to stealing uncarved pumpkins from people's porches, running into the woods, carving them, and then putting them back on the porches. The Pumpkin Fairy strikes again!

BTW...we should be careful about claiming that we're "TP virgins" unless the correct context is understood.


At 3:24 AM, Blogger u said...

I . . . like candy corn.

But the true winners were anything involving chocolate. Halloween sized M&M packets were the best, with Butterfingers, Nestle cruch bars, little boxes of Junior Mints, and York peppermint patties following. Oh, and Sugar Daddies! Terrible name for a child's candy, but I used to glue my mouth together with those every single year.

At 9:50 AM, Blogger Sal DeTraglia said...

Hey U:

Yeah, I like York Peppermint Patties, too. Very effective to offsetting Reese's Peanut Butter cup breath.


At 2:19 AM, Anonymous Jo said...

OooOo YES! Brach's Neapolitans! A fave of mine as well. There is a similar candy that is a traditional Mexican treat. I'm gonna miss Mexican food when we move. And decent Chinese, and Vietnamese ::sigh:: don't forget Japanese, Salvadoran, Greek... Honestly, is there any good food on the East Coast other than shrimp and lobster?

At 11:51 PM, Anonymous Deneen (vancouver B.C.) said...

I LOVED PEP CHEWS and cannot believe they went to the "BIG CANDY GRAVEYARD IN THE SKY"!!!

At 1:03 AM, Blogger Sal DeTraglia said...


I've surfed around the Internet to research this mysterious candy that has so captured the hearts of my Canadian friends. The websites I've found are consistent in one aspect...they all confirm that Pep Chews are discontinued.

But why? If every Canadian I've ever known loves Pep Chews (thus leading me to conclude, by means of extrapolation, that every Canadian ever born loved Pep Chews), then why have they been discontinued? Business should be booming! It's a product with high demand and no supply.

Perhaps the secret is in the name. "Pep Chews." Sounds a bit dodgy, no? Sounds like the type of candy that would get your Olympic medal revoked, no?

Pep Chews. Now I want some"



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